All the way through evening

3 December 2012 Film

All the way through evening

Speaking about the AIDS epidemic that swept New York’s gay community in the 1980s, singer-poet Perry Brass compares the experience to “living through a war”. Over five years he made a list of friends who had died; all told there were 35 (others had lists as large as 75). Melbourne filmmaker Rohan Spong focuses on a microcosm of this tragic time, looking at the effects on the classical music community, focusing on the Benson AIDS concert series. Held annually by eccentric pianist Mimi Stern-Wolfe since 1990, these shows celebrate the lives and legacies of colleagues who died. (One interviewee talks of the relationship between “high art and low sex” in the pre-AIDS era to explain why the arts community was particularly affected.) Spong interviews friends and partners of those who died, interspersed with rousing performances. This low-budget documentary is highly moving, providing insight into inconceivable personal and cultural loss.

Rebecca Harkins-Cross

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